Ottavio Vannini (1585-c. 1643)

Today’s Bible reading

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’  I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” – John 1:29-34

More thoughts for meditation

Samuel Barber A former prodigy student at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia began to attract international notice while still in his twenties. He won the admiration of the famous symphony director, Arturo Toscanini, who recorded Adagio for Strings, the basis for today’s song: Agnus Dei, which Barber rearranged for the eight-part choir in 1967.

The Angus Dei is said or sung during the part of the Catholic mass when the bread of Christ is broken and when it is presented to the people to share. It is the highpoint of the liturgy.

It is the centerpoint of our lives. As you listen to the song, pray it and feel it. See the revelation, feel the Spirit descending and remaining, taste the communion, let your own testimony rise. The simple words are below, basically a quote from today’s reading.

Lamb of God,
Agnus Dei, 
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
Have mercy on us.
Miserere nobis.

Lamb of God,
Agnus Dei, 
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
Have mercy on us.
Miserere nobis.

Lamb of God,
Agnus Dei, 
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Qui tollis peccata mundi, 
Grant us peace.
Dona nobis pacem.

Suggestions for action

Barber’s Agnus Dei was used, dramatically, in the famous movie about Vietnam, Platoon. In the scene, William Dafoe is the sacrificial lamb. The scene is even more sad, since his sacrifice seems like a shame to his comrades, not the work of salvation the platoon was sent to effect.

For the world and for yourself, receive mercy, be granted peace. Stay with this experience of music and meaning until you have a sense that sin: your sin and the sin of others, has been taken away.

If you lead us in worship, what do you learn from the many people who have poured their talents out in service to the RCC liturgy?